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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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after defeat. Did the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary, after a
Polish guarantee had been given and when in August 1939, the Ribbentrop-
Molotov Agreement had been made., turn to Poland and say " We are sorry,
but in view of the fact that Germany and Russia have come together,
total destruction is all you can hope for if you stand up to Germany, whatever
the democracies may do " ? We know quite well that that was not the line
and that that was not in their hearts at the time. It was in the heart and
mind of every ordinary citizen in 1939-40 that, though Poland might fall,
Poland would rise again, and we believed it long before Russia ever came
into the picture. It is a rather unjust argument to hurl at Poland now,
after the days of 1939;, that she would have been completely destroyed by
the Germans and that, therefore, she ought to be grateful for what she can
get to-day.
I come to the next point where I am rather shaken over Yalta. Whatever
may have been the advantage or disadvantage of the territorial settlement,
it seems astounding that, having as we had, a legitimate Polish Government
in London, precisely recognised by the Foreign Secretary in a speech in
December last year, that Government should not have had even one word
of consultation, whether its advice were taken or not. I think I am right
in saying that after the fall of Mr. Mikolajczyk, whose fall was deplored
by the Prime Minister, neither Mr. Arciszewski, the Prime Minister, nor
the Foreign Secretary of the new Government have been permitted one
word with either the Prime Minister or the Foreign Secretary of England.
It seems to me that their treatment was a little ungenerous. It is a little hard
that the legitimate Government should, as it were, have been put in cold
storage while Yalta settled the fate of the Poles. . . .
So far as frontiers are concerned, say what you will, the Atlantic Charter
was finally repudiated at Yalta. It started as a principle; it afterwards
became a guide; to-morrow it will leave off becoming a guide and will
become what Mr. Ramsay MacDonald would have called a " gesture."
We shall want something more than a gesture if a new Europe and a new
world are to be built on the basis of civilisation and justice. The Prime
Minister said that the Curzon Line was a just line. The hon. Member for
West Leicester said it was a just line. Apparently, however, they were
dealing with two different lines. The line at Yalta was a line West of Lwow,
and the line which the hon. Member for West Leicester was referring to
was, apparently, a line which included Lwow. When the Prime Minister
said that it was the old day, I think he might at any rate have reminded the
house that Eastern Galicia now goes to Russia, a province that has never
been Russian at any time and was never contemplated in 1919, 1920 or
1921 as likely to become Russian.
The great danger in this new territorial settlement is—not that the old
basis was of necessity a perfect settlement, as I think the Polish line did
go too far to the East—that the line should have been settled in flat contra-
diction to treaties which have been made. The Treaty of Riga, in 1921,
was reaffirmed in 1932 and I think in 1934, and of course was again re-
affirmed in the Sikorski-Stalin agreement after Russia had come into the
war. . . .
... In speech after speech since Teheran, the Prime Minister has
said that he regarded the Curzon Line as necessary for Russian security.
He has said it with firmness and vigour, and I am sure that he believes
it. What did he say yesterday ? He said that the new Poland moving
further West would have no great fear of danger from Germany, because
drastic steps would be taken to prevent any offensive action by Germany
for many years to come. If that is so, what have 180,000,000 Russians to